Most people will agree it’s impossible to lead a genuinely healthy life without being active. One of my biggest challenges has been remaining consistent about exercise and eating healthy at the same time. I’ve tended toward doing one or the other, and then feeling like a failure or quitter when I wasn’t able to follow through. I’ve been frustrated many times as I worked my butt off without losing a single pound, or as I attempted to adhere to some misguided ideology of “eating healthy” and nearly passed out.
When I lived in the Bay Area, I started a boot camp program that included TRX (which I now love). I asked my trainer for suggestions about healthy eating plans that would help me lose weight safely. It just so happened that the gym was about to launch a 21-Day Rapid Weight Loss program. Even though I never really intended for so ambitious a time frame as 21 days, it appealed to me. If I could lose weight in 21 days, that would be amazing! Plus, I really only wanted to lose about 10 pounds, so it seemed within reasonable reach. I embarked on this ambitious journey full of determination and hope.
The morning of day one, I
choked down ate my allotted half portion of Ezekiel sprouted grain tortilla topped with unsalted almond butter and egg whites. Then I went to work out. I barely lasted half the class before my head started pounding through my skull. I was doing burpees on essentially no fuel. By the time class ended, I was so weak, I felt like I had a virus.
At least I could have my packet of protein shake and 1/2 cup of berries later.
Not sure how I made it through my work day. My work requires empathy, intent listening, and quick thinking. All I remember focusing on was lunch and when could I eat it. I did not care about what was being said. I can only hope none of my patients thought I was crazy, because I wasn’t paying any attention that day and I did not care. At lunch, I wolfed down my 2 oz of salmon and 2 cups of spinach with balsamic vinaigrette like it was burgers and fries. I was still hungry and I felt very ill.
Good thing I’d brought a 1/2 cup of low-fat cottage cheese, 1/2 cup of berries and 1 1/2 tablespoons of raw unsalted almonds to get me through the rest of the afternoon.
The only thing I clearly remember thinking about on that day was when my next snack or meal was scheduled. Later, I ate my dinner of salmon and green beans topped with cashews. I told my husband, who’d previously expressed how dubious this plan sounded, that I wasn’t sure I could continue. Instead, I continued one more day. And when I finally made the decision to stop, I felt like such a failure and a quitter. I sabotaged myself with some TrueBurger. The best TrueBurger I ever ate.
The lesson I learned from this is that there are no quick methods for losing weight. And in fact, the goal should not necessarily be to lose weight, but to eat in a healthy way, with healthy portions, and exercise in some form consistently. At the moment, I’ve got the exercise thing locked down. I go to a boot camp with which I have a love/hate relationship. I hate getting up early in the morning for 5:45am class. I hate the nonstop working out for an entire hour. I especially hate Wednesdays, which are 100% cardio, including running hills, running several miles, and sprinting. But the very things I hate about it, are the things I love about it. Going to class at 5:45am, I’m done for the day. Last week, I ran farther and longer than I have in years. But most importantly, I can actually see and feel the changes on my body. My clothes fit better, less snugly, and I look more toned. The scale insists I haven’t lost a pound. Do I believe my eyes or the scale?